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Review: Day of Wishes and Wonder

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After I completed Waiting in the Water , I jumped right into another fantasy series by Anne Stryker . Day of Wishes and Wonder  is the first, and so far, only book in her Starlight Fae series. It had a tonal shift from Waiting in the Water  and even Crumbling Towers , her "Rapunzel" adaptation from the Enchanted Kingdoms anthology that motivated me to read more of her work. I realize that in older mythology, the fae are a dark, mischievous, and often deadly species that hardly resemble the sparkly faery princesses  that we see in modern media. As fan of the latter, I prefer some sort of middle ground when I read books inspired by this mythology, such as Brittany Fichter's Autumn Fairy trilogy . Even the Disney Princesses update their fairy tales and characters every few years to go along with the times. The other books that I had read by Anne Stryker gave me certain expectations that this missed, despite its gorgeous cover. Day of Wishes and Wonder  follows the "l

The Lost Princess Trope

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Tangled  wasn't the first movie to feature a mistreated girl who learned she was a princess, but it was the first to popularize the "lost princess" archetype. Why is this trope so appealing throughout so many recent books and films? Secretly being a princess is a fantasy that many little girls have when they're growing up, especially when they face difficult times. This popular story narrative gives a literal interpretation Sara Crewe's philosophy from A Little Princess  that every girl is a princess even if they don't know it. One of the reasons this is such a common theme in princess stories is that it goes along with one of the seven basic plot archetypes , the "Rags to Riches" trope. In the past, that trope was used more often for stories based on  "Cinderella,"  but the "lost princess" trope has become more common in modern media due to the lack of dependency on a man that the "Cinderella" trope  requires. The first

Review: Waiting in the Water

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My favorite book in the Enchanted Kingdoms anthology  was Crumbling Towers  by Anne Stryker . I was so impressed by her innocent and whimsical imagery that I decided to look into some of her other works. From what I've seen on her website, she appears to be very good at starting series, but not at continuing them. She has a number of fantasy series that only contain one or two books each. I selected two of her books to introduce myself to her fantasy realms. One is about faeries , and the other is about mermaids . Though I was going to start with the faery book, Day of Wishes and Wonder , I had trouble opening it on the Kindle Cloud Reader, so I switched to  Waiting in the Water  instead. Waiting in the Water  is the second book in Anne's Beyond the Veil series. It made no references to any earlier story or series of events, so it can easily work as a standalone. Waiting in the Water  is inspired by "The Little Mermaid," but not based on it. It reads like a gender-be

Review: Yes, Your Grace

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Yes, Your Grace  is a charming video game with strategy and visual novel elements in which the player takes on the role of a king who has daily meetings with his subjects in order to maintain the well-being of his kingdom. Though you cannot play as a princess, the king has three daughters, who each have unique personalities and quirks. The decisions that the player makes throughout the story directly affects their fates. Though it is possible to give two of the princesses a happy ending, one of them is a victim of circumstance, and there is nothing you can do to save her, which diminishes some of the replay value. Yes, Your Grace can be completed in about half a day and has a surprisingly engaging story filled with fun characters and challenging situations that simulate what it might be like to run an actual kingdom. The story kicks off when soldiers from an enemy kingdom show up to claim Lorsulia, the eldest daughter of King Eryk and Queen Aurelea, who was promised to them as an act

Review: The Mirror and the Curse

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It's been a while since the last Faraway Castle book , so I was pleased to jump back into JM Stengl's creative world  of modern-day teens living in a realm of magic and fairy tales. Like the other books in this series , The Mirror and the Curse  is loosely inspired by a well-known fairy tale, which in this case is "Snow White."  The book actually reminded me more of Sofia the First than any fairy tale due to its focal point on a flying horse competition. Like Lucy Tempest's recent "Snow White" retelling , The Mirror and the Curse  does not contain seven dwarfs and instead features cameos of characters from the previous books in the series along with a new love interest who is part dwarf. It doesn't quite hit the same level of imaginative fantasy as The Rose and the Briar , but it is still a pleasant read. The Mirror and the Curse  is the story of Princess Eddi, who was a "best friend" character in previous Faraway Castle books. In this sto

Sailor Moon Crystal Returns with a Double Feature!

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As a '90s kid, it was difficult not to get swept up in the hype surrounding  Sailor Moon . Referred to at the time as a "gateway anime," Sailor Moon was the first Magical Girl show  that attained viral popularity among a western audience. Though I, personally, was more passionate about Princess Gwenevere and the Jewel Riders , I had a mild curiosity about the pop culture princess phenomenon from Japan that everyone was talking about. A story about an ordinary girl who discovers she's the princess of a magical kingdom should have been right up my alley, but I had a lot of trouble relating to Usagi/Serena/Sailor Moon due to her immaturity and complete lack of motivation or responsibility. I wouldn't consider myself a huge fan of the series as a whole, but I did enjoy the English soundtrack and the sparkly aesthetic. My favorite sailor was Mercury, since she seemed like the only level-headed member of the girl-powered team. In 2014, Sailor Moon Crystal rolled aro

Review: Gisela's Passion

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One of the most intriguing stories in the Enchanted Kingdoms anthology  was Naiya's Wish  by Astrid V.J. , which retold a beautiful fairy tale that I was not previously familiar with. That was no coincidence as this author has built her career around obscure adaptations. Among her other works, I was most intrigued by Gisela's Passion , which is inspired by the ballet Giselle , a story I knew next to nothing about except that it was featured in the Barbie movie The Pink Shoes  and inspired the name of the heroine (but not the story) from Disney's Enchanted . That was just enough to make me want to know more. I trusted Astrid's beautiful descriptive storytelling after reading Naiya's Wish , and this book did not disappoint me in that respect, though it did in others. No matter how the story is told, Giselle is a classic love triangle between one woman and two men from different backgrounds. It is also a real downer, which is probably why the ballet was never adapted

Review: Time Princess - Saga of Viera

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Saga of Viera is the latest visual novel that the Time Princess app released as part of their massive one-year anniversary update. The story takes place in a high fantasy RPG world of elves, curses, and gods. It is about as short as  their Swan Lake visual novel  and contains a number of unsatisfying "good" endings like Helen of Sparta and Shadows of London . Though I enjoyed the story in Saga of Viera more than Helen or Shadows, I was disappointed to see it end abruptly with no resolution for the downtrodden protagonist. I've always been a fan of fantasy video games  and even wrote a book inspired by them , so the elven kingdom setting and aesthetics were very appealing to me. It was also nice to have another original story , so I didn't feel like I was missing something by not being familiar with the original work like with Little Women . In Saga of Viera, you play as a fortune-teller named Zoya whose bloodline is cursed. Due to magical reasons beyond her knowledg

The New Disney Princess Anthem Is "Starting Now!"

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Every few years, the Disney Princess brand updates its official anthem . This year's addition came out in honor of Disney's Ultimate Princess Celebration . "Starting Now"  is performed by Brandy, who recently made a comeback of her 1997 role in  Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella . It is the fourth song to represent the Disney Princess brand since it began in 2000. Brandy continues the tradition of the anthem being sung by an actress who played a princess in a Disney movie. The only outlier is 2012's "Hall of Fame,"  which was performed by a popular band, The Script. "Starting Now" has some similarities to the very first Disney Princess anthem, "If You Can Dream,"  in that both songs contain references to classic Disney Princess song lyrics. I have to admit that I prefer the soothing lullaby instrumentals of "If You Can Dream" to the generic synthesized pop vibes of "Starting Now." Give it a listen below to

Book Owl Word Search 500th Post Extravaganza!

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To celebrate  500 posts in The Princess Blog , I'm participating in the Book Owl Word Search (BOWS) along with many other talented writers. Each author has a secret word hidden somewhere in their blog. If you can find and collect all the secret words, you get a chance to win a prize! I'm on the orange team. You can learn more about the challenge on the Snowy Wings Publishing website . For my entry, I decided to release the bonus chapter from my book, The Stolen Slipper , which had only been published in the Kindle box set for The Stolen Trilogy until now. This chapter is from the perspective of James, the "Prince Charming" character from my reimagining of  "Cinderella,"  who is also  Lily's brother from The Stolen Queen , the second book in the trilogy .   After you read the chapter, you will find a link to the next blog in this challenge. I hope you have fun learning about these talented authors and searching for their hidden words.

Review: The Mystery Princess

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The Mystery Princess  is the latest installment in Melanie Cellier's Return to the Four Kingdoms series . It contains many references to characters and events from her other fairy tale adaptations including The Princess Fugitive , A Dream of Ebony and White , and The Secret Princess . This book follows the same format as Melanie's other books in which a capable young lady intercepts a royal conspiracy, saves the day, and falls in love with a prince. Though it might be a bit predictable after all the other books she wrote that take place in this setting, that doesn't mean that it isn't interesting. Not only is this the first of Melanie's books to feature a dark-skinned heroine on the cover, but it is also a unique take on "Cinderella"  that changes many elements of the timeworn fairy tale to keep it fresh while remaining true to the heart of the story. Like all of Melanie's fairy tale books, The Mystery Princess  has a protagonist that long-time reade

Princess Syalis Is a Heroine We Can All Relate To!

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Princess parodies  may have been all the rage throughout the 21st century, but you've never seen one quite like this. Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle  is an anime comedy that explores what happens to a kidnapped princess while the hero is off trying to rescue her. However, Princess Syalis couldn't care less about being rescued. All she wants to do is get the most comfortable sleep she can possibly muster in her new castle. After all, what else is there to do when you are whisked away from your royal responsibilities and left alone in a nice room with lots of friendly demons as neighbors? Though Princess Syalis may have been kidnapped, she is no damsel in distress . In fact, the innocuous demon inhabitants of her new home soon become more like servants to her than captors. My favorite thing about this anime is that it rips apart the conception that kidnapped princesses are helpless victims who can't do anything but sit around and wait to be rescued. Not only does Syalis

Review: Time Princess - Taishō Adventures

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Barely even a week after their Phantom of the Opera visual novel came out, the Time Princess app released Taishō Adventures, an original story set in Japan that could not be more different than Phantom. This is the first new story that had more than one chapter since I started playing Time Princess, harkening back to its original three visual novels . It takes place during the Taishō era , a period of Japanese history that lasted from 1912 to 1926. Since this the same time period that Gotham Memoirs takes place, there is some overlap of the clothing styles. The setting in Taishō Adventures also incorporates some classic Japanese fashions including colorful kimonos and beaded floral accessories as well as many Japanese cultural references including idioms, fairy tales, and architecture. It delivers a satisfying resolution no matter which story path you take, which is more than I can say about Helen of Sparta or Shadows of London . It takes a little while to grasp the story in Taishō

Enchanted Kingdoms Review: Part 4

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In about a month and a half, I completed all 20 books from the Enchanted Kingdoms anthology . It was not easy to read this many novels in such a short period of time. I learned about a lot of terrific authors and some that I probably would not have been interested in reading otherwise. Each of the four sets of books I reviewed follow vague themes. The first five books  were contemporary retellings of well-known fairy tales. The second five  were horror and paranormal romance. The third set  included more traditional retellings, and these last books placed a spotlight on disabled characters  overcoming seemingly impossible odds. I thoroughly enjoyed this last set of books and even learned about some new fairy tales. Silent Melody  by Alice Ivinya This is a creative and beautiful retelling of "The Pied Piper of Hamelin."  It's one of the best books in this entire anthology and incorporates new ideas that fully flesh out the characters and settings in an otherwise simple sto